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Can't quite believe I'm posting(73 Posts)
I just want some advice really. My dh is a really good bloke. Really good. But for the past 8 months he's been depressed and things have changed. This weekend it all came to a head and I feel like a fool.
Relevant background? Both on our second marriages, early 40s. I have dcs from first marriage and we have 2 of our own. He does half of all childcare, housework when he's home.
We've had a rough year. I was pregnant with our youngest, there were complications for me and physically I struggled a lot, I'm gradually improving 6 months on, but it's been tough. Dh stepped up and got on with the physical side of things that needed doing, but had recently been signed of work with depression, and so needed an awful lot of emotional support.
But things were ok. He went to gp, started CBT counselling, ADs. We happily admitted this was a hard bit.
I found things hard when heavily pregnant and immobile and in pain, dh withdrew all affection from me. We talked about it often, but nothing really changed. I was struggling with my own MH issues but couldn't lean on him. When I tried to talk to him about things it always came back to his depression and me comforting him. So I stopped telling him when his actions upset me, because it always ended up worse for me than if I just got on with it. He was ill. It would get better. "This isn't forever" was and is my mantra.
Anyway, one of his issues is that he has very low self esteem. This weekend he asked me to set him up a POF profile and run it for him so that he could see that people did find him attractive. He said it didn't matter that I always told him I did, because I was biased, and he needed this boost.
He said this last thing Friday night, after an evening where we'd spent the whole time laughing, hugging, kissing, and I thought we were getting somewhere. I said I thought it was a bad idea, and he went to sleep.
I barely slept. The next morning, it felt like something snapped. How dare he ask me to put myself through the humiliation of finding random strangers to chat him up, just so he could get an ego boost? How dare he want strangers to desire him and not me? I was very upset.
We talked about it and he admitted that it hadn't even crossed his mind that I would be upset. In fact he hadn't even considered my feelings at all. After reflecting he admitted that he doesn't consider my feelings anymore, that when I encouraged him to put himself first and treat himself, it replaced how he used to treat me.
I hope that all makes some sense.
So now I look back over the past few months and so much makes sense. In may I started rape crisis counselling for what happened in my previous marriage, and he kept forgetting I was even going, then laying more things on me when I was already dealing with my own stuff. All the time I was putting him first he was not even considering me.
I tried to tell him a couple of months ago that I wasn't coping, I was hallucinating and worried I was going under with the stress of it all. Even that conversation ended with talking about how he was really going to start doing his CBT, and get better.
My dh is an amazing, good and lovely man. He has been there for me in the past in so many ways, just as I have for him.
He's promising to get back in the habit of thinking of me. I can't imagine getting out of that habit. That's what our relationship was built on, caring for each other. But he's ill and I should be making allowances, but I'm so hurt.
We had a rare night out the other week. He knew I was nervous going to a new place (he goes monthly), it's a musician night and he plays. Some other players invited us to join them, dh sat across both seats so I couldn't, so I just sat on my own. I have ASD and was struggling because I didn't know the etiquette and how I was supposed to behave so assumed I wasn't supposed to sit with them. Dh ignored me. It was horrible. He'd been so pleased that we had a babysitter and I could come. None of it made sense.
I'm really rambling now. There have been so many incidents like that in the past 6 months. I'd felt so unloved and unable to put my finger on why. Now it all makes sense.
I won't be treated as a second class citizen in my own home and in my own life. For years he has been good and kind and thoughtful.
Tell me it's just the depression and it'll go away?
Please be gentle.
It's all about him isn't it. Sorry you have had such a rough time with your own awful issues to deal with. He doesn't sound supportive, like he is on your side or like a particularly kind person.
What if he isn't depressed, maybe he is a selfish, self obsessed idiot? Setting up the POF is so many shades of no I find it hard to respond to that.
This is only my opinion, but your post reads as if your h is no longer interested in you. The pof thing is plain weird. The lack of care and concern are plain cruel. counselling might help you arrange your thoughts and plans. Have you spoken to people in rl who know you about this?
I can't tell you how out of character this all is. This is the man who when I wasn't well, and we were living apart, drove a 3 hour round trip so he could drop my dcs at school for me.
He says he loves me and is devastated by the pain he's caused.
I can't speak to anyone in RL about this. They'd think he'd lost the plot.
Sorry whether depressed or not he is treating you like crap - no wonder you feel hurt, his feelings are not more important than yours, he wasn't that ill that it stopped him playing with his friends, or asking you to put up a profile for him, he sounds incredibly selfish tbh not to mention devoid of any consideration for you. If that's due to his illness he needs serious help now.
I agree and have told him he has been a selfish shit.
I blame myself in part for letting all the little things slide until they became big things.
I'm so disappointed in him.
He knows I will leave rather than end up in an unequal relationship (and it has been very unequal of late)
I've told him he can't lean on me anymore, he has his counsellor and his GP. I expect him to tell me if he wants to hurt himself, but only so that I can get him medical help.
He has accepted all of this without arguing and has said all the right things.
But I'm waiting for actions not words.
Oh dear you are not being unreasonable but your H is so self centred he is pulling away from you. I know that depression affects a person on many levels and he can't help some of this (the POF profile request is beyond the pale) but it is hellish for you.
The need for an ego boost is very concerning and now he's expressed that aloud I don't think that's the end of it.
If I were you I would now think seriously about copying him in one regard: prioritising #1. You're not a mother figure just here to indulge him.
Just a thought is he drinking or taking anything on top of his prescribed medication?
Donkeys, he's maybe having a glass of wine at the weekend, but not drinking to any great degree.
I agree with all of that. I've been putting him first to my detriment and he's been doing the same. I am so angry. I was half expecting you all to laugh at me about the POF. In his head he asked me to do it so that there would be no question that he was trying to cheat I asked him how it would make him feel if I did the same and it was only then that he admitted that he would feel horrible and he hadn't even considered my feelings.
do we does he fix this? I'm not having the piss taken any more. I'm worth more than this and I don't deserve this.
I was so sodding happy Friday night
And yes I pointed out that getting an ego boost from strangers was dangerous ground and would do nothing for his self esteem. So there was no doubt I added that if I ever found any "chats" like that I would consider it cheating and would leave.
You can't fix it. I would ask him to leave while you decide whether you want a relationship with him at all. And I would have counselling for yourself in the meantime.
But blaming yourself saying you let things slide - that is rubbish. He behaves like this because he can, not because of something you did.
Butterfly, you're right that he chose this. Had I had more in my tanks in the past 8 months I would have had zero tolerance for all bullshit.
I want a relationship with him, but not at any cost. I've left a bigger bastard than he will ever be.
We have been so happy for years. Stupidly, nauseatingly happy. He has put me first in everything and I've done the same for him. This is not how our relationship has been and I feel side-swiped by it.
Does he want to 'fix' it? I'm not sure I believe his reasoning about POF ie that if you knew about it then you knew he wasn't cheating. Seeking emotional affirmation about his looks from elsewhere is a degree of cheating surely? He was asking you to condone that and, regardless of his depression, that shows a breathtaking degree of selfishness and lack of engagement in your relationship. I'm sorry
I agree with the PP who said it's time to put you first. It's also time to ask DH to suggest how you fix this. He has to step up - this is not another crisis where you swoop in and rescue it. He's not more important than you.
He HAS lost the plot and needs to sort himself out. Is he on the right meds? Doing his counselling/ CBT. Working on his self esteem? Taking exercise and eating well? He needs to make up some serious ground and yes, I know he's unwell but really?
APlace, I am holding myself back from fixing anything. It's not easy! He very much wants to fix it, and is saying all the right things, he is sorry, he is aware he has been selfish and cruel, he can't believe he's hurt me like this, he loves me more than anything, he will do whatever it takes, whatever I want and he no longer expects me to make any allowances for any behaviour, he wants me to be brutally honest with him no matter what.
Yes it does feel like he was asking permission for strangers to fawn over him and flatter him and that hurts a lot.
Matilda, he's just upped his ADs, had had to stop exercising due to an injury a few weeks ago, but since this blew up has been out running again.
Ive told him that his health is his responsibility, but if he wants to make excuses rather than do his best to get well then he can leave.
Nothing seems to be helping his self-esteem
He says that he finally believes that I want him and find him attractive, that he has struggled because he doesn't understand why someone like me would want someone like him, and that if strangers confirmed his attractiveness then he would feel more secure that I did. I called, "bollocks" and told him that was a self-serving heap of shite.
His CBT counsellor seems a bit shit, and he's still waiting for talking therapy.
I called, "bollocks" and told him that was a self-serving heap of shite.
Well done, you're exactly right. It's also manipulative - wrapping up his selfishness in a back-handed compliment about your attractiveness.
God, I'm tired just thinking about the degree of reassurance he's expecting you to deliver, not least because you can't give him confidence. It has to come within. And, also, because his words and actions seem to imply he has an inherent confidence in his desirability - otherwise he wouldn't even think you'd stay around to condone such a conversation, never mind a profile on a dating website.
Meh, sorry. I had an ex who tried similar shit so I may be projecting.
You BOTH are depressed and you BOTH are dealing with a bunch of sad crap that was generated by neither of you. All of those years of putting each other first may have been nice, but they also sound like years of both of bottling things up to protect yourselves and each other. I dont think the problem is any more him than you, at this point. You both are in a hard spot to have a clear point of view from. You each are carrying enough baggage and mental stress to break up a relationship, there must be a strong bond in there somewhere to keep you together so far.
What kind of joint therapy and counselling have you ever tried? With each of you being broken, it is probably important that your repairs have some shared elements, if you see what I mean.
I think you should stop beating yourself up and recognise that you have just done exactly the right thing. It also seems to have had exactly the right effect. I understand you when you say you are looking for actions not words but now that you've both recognised how lop-sided your relationship had become, you can both start redressing the balance.
This does sound like an effect of depression to me.
Think of it like this. Depression makes you feel low, worthless, useless, ugly. It also takes away your ability to feel pleasure (google Adhedonia) so think which would have made him feel happy previously will no longer ignite that joy and satisfaction. ADs can have the same effect too. Almost like being numb and detached.
While he has all that going on beaneath the surface he is not going to be your husband as you once knew him.
I don't think the blanket approach of CBT and ADs works for everyone (although is does for some) and there's plenty of really effective things you can do at home that will have a seemingly miracle effect.
Buy a book called "Undoing depression" and have a read...it's fantastic and has 12 everyday things you can do to help cure depression. It sounds like his was brought on by ongoing stress, and I think techniques like mindfulness, daily walks, dietary changes etc can have a huge effect.
Many people dismiss that over pills or CBT but from my experience with depressed relatives...the brain is frazzled...it needs to heal...and those steps are vital for recovery.
Men often turn to alcohol, porn, affairs, gambline when they are depressed because they are thrill seeking...looking for something to make them feel alive again. He might feel less "in love" with you, because you can't feel those feelings when you are depressed.
Depression is also a selfish illness. My ex lost the ability to care how I felt about anything.
If you love your husband, the best thing you can do is try and learn about his condition. For a while, for as long as it takes for him to be better, you will only have a percentage of your husband. It's very hard, very lonely and you'll need a thick skin. Bear in mind depression also often recurrs, you'll need to tackle this illness as a team.
As well as the great book above mentioned, also try "depression fallout" and there's a website called "Let the sunshine in" for people who's partners have depression to support each other. Get him a book called "I had a black dog" - he'll appreciate it.
Youtube is also great for meditations and midfullness techniques. It sounds new age hippy but it's proven to work and I can attest that it does.
Good luck OP.
Please don't ever take personally the actions and behavior of someone with mental illness.
his lack of self esteem is not your problem to fix quite frankly. He does sound exhausting. It shouldn't be this tough should it?
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